Behind every powerful brand is a set of strong brand values. They are the DNA of your agency. They are permanent. And everything else in your business is influenced by them. Over time things will change in your business, like your marketing strategy, your website, logo, products, services, you name it… but not your values.
Brand values will define your business, helping it stay consistent so customers can identify and connect with it. This will enable clearer and easier communication with your audience because of the feeling of familiarity with your brand. Bear in mind that potential customers are constantly interacting with brands on social media, and they would prefer to understand your brand image before becoming your customers.
So, in case you didn’t set your brand values yet, now would be a good time to do so. Think about them to determine how you want to be presented and seen as a brand. To help you start, we will share with you why brand values are so important and how they can play a major role in the success of your marketing agency.
The Importance Of Brand Values
In a nutshell – brand values communicate what your brand stands for, your core principles and beliefs.
Your marketing agency is a community of different employees and personalities. Think about what is important, what principles you want to follow, and look for values that overlap when hiring new employees. Values like empathy, trust, ethics, responsibility, excellent customer service are a good start – people usually prioritize these over others. These will work for your current employees as well. You can also work with your team to find out what values are important to them so you can all agree with what to work on.
If you don’t set your brand values, your employees might work under their own principles and values and avoid or ignore teamwork and their teammates’ needs. This dissonance will, in the long run, cause harm and hinder progress in your marketing agency.
Brand Experience statistics show that only half of the respondents believed their brand is consistently sending the same message throughout every department.
Image Source: Brand Experience statistics
If you want your customers to take your brand seriously, you’ll need to maintain a unified brand voice everywhere, both online and offline.
If you don’t, this can happen:
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) surveyed that a majority of companies’ employees are either unaware or have a lack of understanding of their company’s values. This survey was done with the help of close to 100 HR professionals. In response to the survey, on average, Human Resources Managers believed that only 11% of employees knew their company’s core values.
The question is: why is that percentage so low? Is it because it is to difficult to create brand values in the first place? Or because it is to difficult to abide by them? Or the problem lies somewhere else?
Your brand values are essential for your brand’s recognition, reputation, market share, negotiations with new clients, etc. However, not many brands seem to understand its relevance, let alone use it to their benefit.
Perhaps, sharing some of the big companies’ values can shed some light on this problem.
3 Great Examples Of Brand Values
Let’s look at the following examples:
Who doesn’t want a Ferrari? It is a status symbol indicating wealth, adventurism, and high social standing. And above all, it is a unique sports car. Their logo, prancing horse, is well known all over the world. When you think Ferrari, you think quality, prestige, and glamour. And looking at it builds up all kinds of emotions in a person with a desire to be a part of the Ferrari experience. But, let’s look at their brand values:
‘Being Ferrari means being part of a unique future-focused team in which people are the most valuable resource.’
- ‘Individual and Team – the priority is competence and personal growth, but as a part of a team,
- Emotion – Ferrari is not just a car, it evokes the experience of pride and enthusiasm,
- Integrity – is the sum of the core values of respect, honesty, loyalty, and consistency with a strive to guarantee a sustainable future,
- Tradition and Innovation – the two melded together to fuel the Ferrari legend,
- Passion and Excellence – they are driven by the passion to provide excellence’.
The Coca-Cola Company is relentlessly producing the most beloved soft drink in the last century. And who doesn’t remember Coca-Cola adds? Growing up, they were my favorites, and even now, I like to remember them and sing along them. Now, that is an excellent branding.
The people at Coca Cola are pretty descriptive when it comes to explaining their brand values. This is what they have on their website:
‘Our values serve as a compass for our actions and describe how we behave in the world.’
- ‘Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
- Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
- Integrity: Be real
- Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
- Passion: Committed in heart and mind
- Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
- Quality: What we do, we do well.’
Google update and upgrade their core brand every day – the Google search engine. It is almost intelligent on its own, like an AI reading your input and learning about your taste, then making predictions on what you might like. Their algorithm is built with a solid backbone, coded by young and promising programmers all over the world. They are known in the business world for their amazingly positive work environment, lax work restrictions, and their never-ending proficiency in understanding and teamwork.
As one of the largest search engines nowadays, Google does an excellent job of keeping positive values:
- ‘Focus on the user, and all else will follow
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well
- Fast is better than slow
- Democracy on the web works
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer
- You can make money without doing evil
- There’s always more information out there
- The need for information crosses all borders
- You can be serious without a suit
- Great just isn’t good enough.’
Each of these brands is in a different industry, but what they have in common are the rock-solid values that give their brand a character, not just a name.
You can do that for your marketing agency too, but you’ll need some guidance on the way. So, we came up with this step-by-step guide on how to create your unique brand values.
Defining Brand Values For Your Marketing Agency –
Step By Step Guide
Let’s get busy.
1. Define Where your Marketing Agency Stands at the Moment
Often, our perception of how good or bad things are can deceive us. This is true in our personal and professional lives.
To get a better understanding of how people see your brand, ask around:
- Ask your customers,
- Create a survey for them,
- Ask your employees for better insights,
- Ask your vendors for a more objective perspective,
- Find out what your customers are talking about on social media about your brand.
All these people are, directly or indirectly, a part of your business. Which means they will give you valuable insights about your brand. All the gathered information will serve you as a starting point for things to consider when crafting your brand values.
2. Analyze your Current Business Plan
The first step when starting a business is setting your goals and creating a business plan.
Make sure that before defining your brand values, you take a step back and revisit that plan. Ask yourself, are the things still the same in your agency, or have your goals shifted in any way? If so, revise your business plan first and then continue with defining your brand values. These two are closely related and should not be crafted one without the other.
You also need to think about the future – where do you want your business to be in three, five, or ten years from now?
Analyze your current business plan to see how it can influence your brand values.
3. Take your Corporate Culture into Consideration
If you don’t have a defined corporate culture, now might be a good time to think about it as well. In the long run, this culture is going to be crucial for your business. And if it is not set from the start, you might experience a lot of problems in the future.
Bear in mind that corporate culture is part of the business plan you need to set to achieve your goals. It will define the type of employees you’ll want around you, the type of clients you want to work with, as well as the overall experience you as a marketing agency deliver. It is also an essential part of building better brand values
4. Define your Brand Values and Their Meaning
Finally, after all the steps from above, you have enough information to start thinking about defining and writing down your brand values. And while you’re at it, don’t forget about your target audience – who do you speak too specifically? How do you want to present yourself as a brand?
If you get stuck in this process, you might want to use Startup Happiness Values Deck – ‘a tool that startups can use to discover and discuss their own unique cultural DNA as well as to understand each other and work as a tighter team.’
Remember that your agency’s values will mean nothing if you don’t explain them carefully to your employees and customers. After all, they are more than crucial to your business. For example, if one of your brand values is ‘passion’ you need to explain what that actually means whether it is about how every product is designed with the same passion or the passion your employees have towards the work.
Be precise in your explanations.
5. Share and Incorporate Brand Values into your Marketing Agency
Your brand values should not be crafted just to be left on the whiteboard; they are designed to be implemented in your work environment, day after day. As a CEO, you need to present those values to your team and make sure they understand them and employ them correctly.
Also, incorporating brand values means that you’ll need to present them to future job candidates as well. Any future employees need to support the same values, so you’ll know that you have a quality team on your side.
Now that you are familiar with the step-by-step process, it’s time to talk about why defining values are crucial for your business’ success.
Why Brand Values Are Essential For Building A Stronger Marketing Agency?
Let’s discuss values from a different point of view – why are brand values important for your employees and customers, and how does that affect the successfulness of your business?
At the end of the day, your customers, employees, and your audience are the ones influenced by your brand values.
And this is what they consider the most important when it comes to brand values:
- Easily Memorable – Brands values shouldn’t be difficult to memorize by both employees and customers. People should easily remember why they are working in your agency (employees) and why they are buying from you specifically (customers). If you keep your values honest, unique, and precise, and you abide by them, your audience will recognize that and appreciate it. And when people like somebody they share their enthusiasm with others which is exactly what you want for your marketing agency.
- Unique To Your Brand – Don’t just copy other brands’ values, make your own. There are certain things specific to your brand alone. After you’ve done your research, this uniqueness will come out, so use it to your benefit. Don’t be afraid to be unique; let that be something that will differentiate you from the competitors. This will be a good boost for your business.
- Purposeful – If you created brand values just for the sake of having them on your website, it’s a poor strategy. When brand values are there just for the show, and without substance, both your employees and customers will see right through them. Values should serve a particular purpose – to create a positive, strong, and recognizable image of your brand.
- Clear, Easily Understandable – Brand values should be easy to understand by everyone – you as a CEO, your employees, and your customers. You might have come across some long sets of values that seemed too complicated or communicated too much. This is unnecessary and may even seem boastful. Remember, you want your brand values to create an honest image, so be clear about your statements.
- Permanent – We live in a fast-paced society where technology is changing and growing overnight. And sure, over time, your brand will change too. However, your core brand values should stay the same. Consistency is an essential factor in keeping long-term customers.
Your brand values are the DNA of your marketing agency. They are the core, the base to build everything from the ground up. They will provide the setup for choosing your clients, as well as for finding the right employees. If you don’t share the same values, you are not a good match. So, it will be evident pretty soon who is right and who is bad for business.
Back To You
A business without a purpose is like a broken tool – worthless. Brand values are there to shape that purpose. They serve as guides to constantly lead your marketing agency towards its goal, but ethically and respectfully.
Let’s finish with a quote from a book “Story Driven: You don’t need to compete when you know who you are,” by Bernadette Jiwa:
The Meaning Economy has created a new customer who is drawn to brands that enable them to express their values. We know that how we spend our money and which causes we champion are votes for the future we want to see. We support businesses that are generous and mindful of the impact they make. We’re moving towards the formulation of a new value equation – one that rewards work that is carried out with heart and rewards businesses that are driven by purpose before profits.
Share your values. Be proud of them. They make you one of a kind instead of one of many. It is more than the products and services you offer; it is your reputation. It is the reason why people want to work with you.
Have you set your brand values yet? If you have, please share them with us in the comment section below. If you haven’t or don’t know where to begin contact us, and we will be happy to help you.